Dealing with picky eaters (kids and adults alike!)

I'm writing this just as much for myself as I am for you. I don't have a child who is a picky eater, but I have a husband who is one. He doesn't mind trying new things, but getting him to eat vegetables can be and adventure in and of itself. Sometimes I feel like I'm married to a five-year-old! He's gotten better, but it's still a work in progress. Between you and I, hopefully we can figure out ways to 'sneak' healthy foods into the picky eaters in our lives.

One thing that worked well for us is 'hiding' them in things that they already like, and try to 'step up' from there. For instance, you can mix small pieces of steamed zucchini or squash into a pasta sauce. If your kids don't like the 'chunkier' kind, it's possible to puree or cut them up small enough to where they won't be as noticeable. If it works and they like it, perhaps you can work up to larger pieces until you don't have to spend as much time on it. You can probably do the same thing with other vegetables such as carrots, onions and mushrooms, especially since onions and mushrooms go well with pasta anyway. You can buy sauces with 'hidden' vegetables, but sometimes it's cheaper to make your own.

Speaking of 'hidden' vegetables, there are several fruit juices out now that mix in a serving a vegetables in such a way that you can't tell they're there. This way, they can still get their fruits and veggies in their drinks as well as or instead of their food. V8 V-Fusion has several varieties, including some that include green tea. I've tried the Peach Mango, Strawberry Banana and Blueberry Pomegranate, and can attest that you can't taste anything but the fruit. The only complaint I've ever gotten from my husband is that the juices can be kind of thick. Mott's Medleys also makes juices of this sort, and theirs tend to be a bit 'lighter' in that way. If price is an issue (sometimes the V-Fusion goes for $3+!), many grocery stores have come out with their own versions that are every bit as healthy but for a lower price. They are 100% juice (well, except for the ones with tea), so they are more nutritionally complete than your average watered-down juice blend.

Finally, you can let a picky eater take part in food selections. If you take them to the grocery store with you (which you probably do), let them make a few choices. After all, they're more likely to eat something if they chose it themselves. Give them a 'range' to choose from. If they like cereal bars, pick the brand and let them choose the flavor. For pasta, pick the brand and let them choose the shape. Giving them choices-however small-helps them feel like they have some sort of 'power' and aren't being 'made' to eat anything. Face it, if we're made to do something, aren't we that much more inclined to dislike it? This human impulse isn't going to change anytime soon, so you might as well work around it!

I'm sure there are many more ideas out there, but I will leave you with these. Let me know how they work! Good luck!

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